A bending fracture test specimen design is presented for thin elements used in optical devices for space flight applications. The specimen design is insensitive to load position, avoids end effect complications, and can be used to measure strength of membranes less than 2 microns thick. The theoretical equations predicting stress at failure are presented, and a detailed finite element model is developed to validate the equations for this application. An experimental procedure using a focused ion beam machine is outlined, and results from preliminary tests of 1.9 microns thick single crystal silicon are presented. These tests are placed in the context of a methodology for the design and evaluation of mission critical devices comprised of large arrays of cells.